nForce3-250 Specifications



NETWORKING
  • NVIDIA IEEE 802.3 Media Access Control (MAC)
    • Supports 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet/Fast Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet*

    • - Supports HomePNA 2.0 PHYs
      - Advanced Communication Riser (ACR) and Communications and Networking Riser (CNR) interface support
  • High performance networking features
    • TCP segmentation offloads*
    • Jumbo frames*
    • Checksum offloads*
  • NVIDIA StreamThru technology
    • Isochronous controller paired with HyperTransport for fastest networking performance

SECURITY
  • NVIDIA Firewall technology*
    • Industry's only native firewall solution
    • Unmatched performance and protection
    • Advanced management features

    • - Remote access, configuration, monitoring
      - Command line interface (CLI)
      - WMI scripts

STORAGE
  • RAID 0 disk striping support for highest system and application performance
  • RAID 1 disk mirroring support for fault tolerance
  • RAID 0 +1 disk striping and mirroring support for highest performance with fault tolerance
  • Support for both SATA and ATA-133 disk controller standards
  • Dual independent SATA controllers**
    • Supports up to 4 SATA disk drives simultaneously
  • Integrated SATA PHY with support for two drives**
  • Digital SATA interface for external PHY with support for two drives**
  • Fast Ultra ATA-133 Disk Drive Controllers
    • Each interface supports two devices, for support for up to six devices
    • Supports UltraDMA modes 6-0 (UltraDMA 33/66/100/133)
    • Industry-standard PCI bus master IDE register set
    • Separate independent IDE connections for 5V-tolerant primary and secondary interfaces

CONNECTIVITY
  • AGP interface
    • Supports AGP3.0 - 0.8 V signaling for 8x and 4x with Fast Writes data transfers
    • Supports AGP2.0 - 1.5 V signaling for 4x, 2x, and 1x modes with 4x and 2x Fast Writes data transfers
    • Supports graphics address remapping table (GART) features
    • The AGP3.0 8x 533 MT/s. (million transfers per second) interface provides the user with the ability to upgrade the external graphics card, thus avoiding obsolescence. An external AGP add-in card achieves higher performance than it would on existing platforms.
    • AGP interface is backward compatible with the AGP2.0 specification.
  • USB 2.0
    • Single USB 2.0 Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI)/Dual USB 1.1 Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI)
    • Support for up to 8 ports
    • Supports transfer rates at high speed (480 Mbps), full speed (12 Mbps), and low speed (1.2 Mbps)
    • Dynamically configures slower devices for best utilization of bandwidth
    • Allows USB concurrency
  • PCI interface
    • Integrates a fast PCI-to-PCI bridge running at 33 MHz. It includes an arbiter that supports six external master PCI slots.
      Features of the PCI interface include:

    • - PCI 2.3-compliant, 5 V tolerant
      - Supports six external PCI slots at 33 MHz
      - Supports six bus master arbitration
      - PCI master and slave interfaces
      - Supports both master-initiated and slave-initiated terminations
      - Bidirectional write posting support for concurrency
      - Flexible routing of all four PCI interrupts
      - Supports read ahead: memory read line (MRL) and memory read multiple (MRM)

PERFORMANCE
  • HyperTransport technology
    • High throughput (6.4GB/sec)**
    • Low voltage
    • Differential

AUDIO
  • AC '97 2.1 compliant interface
  • Supports 2, 4, or 6-channel audio
  • Dual AC-Link - supports up to two codecs
  • 16-bit or 20-bit stereo output and 16-bit input streams
  • Supports input, output, and general purpose input/output (GPIO) channels for host-based modems
  • Separate independent functions for audio and modem
  • Supports ACR and CNR interface
  • S/PDIF output (stereo or AC-3 output)

MOBILITY
  • Power management
  • Full support for AMD PowerNow! technology
  • ACPI 2.0 compliant
  • Support for ACPI C3 state
  • Low power 0.15 µ process
  • Maximizing real estate efficiency enabling small form factor designs
    • Single chip solution
    • Lower latency for higher performance
* NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb only.
** NVIDIA nForce3 250Gb and 250 only.


A Closer Look at the nForce3-250 Family nForce3-250Gb Reference Board: Basic Features
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  • arswihart - Monday, April 05, 2004 - link

    In response to #19 sprockkets, sorry this is such a late response, I just checked for responses to my original post. The reason I want Firewire is for Audio Interface purposes, everything from the new Hercules Firewire audio device to Yamaha's MLAN 01X use fireware. Not everything of course, but Firewire is getting very pervasive in pro audio. Reply
  • draven31 - Saturday, March 27, 2004 - link

    note that the S/PDIF spec says that a 'fiber'interface is available... that is a optical S/PDIF. TOSLINK is a type od S/PDIF optical connector. Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, March 27, 2004 - link

    It really depends on if gaming is your primary use of sound. An Audigy is good for gaming, PEROID. Music affecianado's need not apply. Furthermore, Creative has never really fixed their PCI bus bandwidth issues(possibly will become irrelevant with PCI Express), and can be problematic with other devices due to a crappy ACPI implementation.

    Your diss on the Envy also pretty much ignores its roots in the high end. It is not software audio. It does not do everything that the Audigy does for *gaming* in hardware, but for other functions its all in hardware. It is the ONLY card on the market that not only meets its specs, it exceeds them. The Audigy falls significantly short in several areas(signal to noise, and remember the original Audigy only had 19bit sound despite their 24bit claims, no idea if they fixed that on the Audigy 2 or not).

    For someone serious about sound, an Audigy is not a choice. For a pure gamer, it is an option(although honestly the difference between it and a Envy based solution is negligible). In gaming the Audigy has slightly less CPU utilization and a few more effects, but the sound quality is mediocre at best.

    Personally I do not find that the few effects it adds are worth the downsides of Creative cards. Also, I am more likely to listen to music on my PC than play games, although I do game occasionally. Soooooo....Creative is a poor choice in *my* situation. Your mileage may vary.
    Reply
  • Odeen - Saturday, March 27, 2004 - link

    In the great words of Woody Paige, "How many times do I have to straighten you guys out?"

    Soundstorm:
    Great DSP (which only matters for 3d sound rendering), and has absolutely NO impact on the audio quality, that's the job of the codec chip. Since ALL motherboard manufacturers insist on using the piss-poor Realtek ALC650 chip to do the sound output, the sound quality suffers.

    To see what Soundstorm can REALLY do, check out the Asus A7N266-C, which put 5.1 out on an ACR card that featured a Sigmatel codec, not the ALC650. By moving the analog part of the implementation away from the motherboard, and using quality analog parts, the sound quality (i.e. noise / frequency response / dynamic range)was greatly improved.

    Dolby Digital encoding:
    Don't forget that DD is COMPRESSED. You can't fit six channels of even 16bit/44.1khz audio into a single SPDIF stream. By utilizing DD, you're taking this nice audio generated for you and mp3'ing it on the fly.

    3DSoundSurge.com reviewed the Soundstorm APU and found that the Dolby Digital generated was just six independent streams compressed and "wrapped into" a DD stream. Things like joint stereo weren't utilized at all to share audio information between channels in order to raise the effective bitrate (i.e. if I use 1/2 the bandwidth to describe what's common between two channels, and 1/4 the bandwidth to describe the differences for each channel, then each channel uses an effective 75% bandwidth, instead of just 50%. Ceteris paribus, bitrate = kwalitee. So, DD encoding is a neat idea, but it's a flawed one.
    That said, why not just integrate six or eight digital outputs on a soundcard using VersaJacks? That way, we harness just the 3D audio rendering power of Soundstorm but leave the analog part to external DACs and amplifiers that are chosen by the user.

    It would eliminate the single-cable convinience, but you'd be getting bit-perfect digital output, and it'd be up to the user to pick the DACs and amps he likes. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any receivers with multichannel digital inputs, but a man can dream of optimal solutions, can't he? :)

    That said, a gamer should still have an Audigy. Since every game out there now uses some form of EAX, you get the best results from using hardware that was designed to support that API, not third-party hardware using someone else's drivers (e.g. Sensaura)

    Speaking of 3D audio rendering, the Via Envy SUCKS. You guys need to realize that Via Envy is just a C-Media 8738 with 7.1 and nice DACs. It's SOFTWARE AUDIO, people, it's AC'97 that sounds a little better than most. It's an eight channel, 24/192- and 24/96-supporting Sound Blaster freakin' Pro! Not that there's anything wrong with that, but, again, all things being equal, playing an EAX-supporting game will have an Audigy2-equipped machine in front, followed by the Soundstorm-equipped machine, followed by a Via Envy-equipped machine.

    Finally, firewire.
    Firewire = good. Chipset-level firewire = gooder. Keep in mind that Firewire has bus-mastering capability, whereas with USB and USB2, the CPU has to handhold every bit going across the bus. Do you really want your shiny new Athlon64 playing crossing guard with USB2 streams, or would you rather have the bits maneuver themselves across independently? Thought so :)

    Chipset-level firewire is good for a simple reason that you only have 133MB/sec maximum theoretical bandwidth. A 400Mb/sec (or 50MB/sec) can eat up to half of your practical PCI bandwidth. Whereas, if it IS integrated, you're only taxing the intra-chipset bandwidth, which is plentiful on A64 boards, and has been plentiful ever since we've gone away from using the PCI bus as the NB/SB interconnect (i.e. the AMD 760 chipset on the AMD side and the Intel BX, which were the last two chipsets to do that).

    WHEW.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Saturday, March 27, 2004 - link

    Whoops, you are correct, I was getting SPDIF mixed up with Toslink cables. My mistake. Heh, I do make those occasionally it seems.

    My point was about the optical Toslink cables, not the digital output itself. However, all that aside, the Soundstorm is still a very low quality integrated sound solution...
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    Please check this link for S/PDIF information:
    http://www.mtsu.edu/~dsmitche/rim420/materials/Int...
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    #64,

    I don't know what you're talking about. SPDIF is not an optical output. And you don't use optical cable at all. There is also no converter. You ran a coax cable directly from sound card to your receiver's coax input. And it's all digital. There will be no signal loss even if you convert them. However, if you're talking about the different sample rate that causes sound quality issue due to the re-sampling, that is true for most SPDIF ports on board or on sound cards. But that has much to do with the design of the sound card rather than anything else.
    Reply
  • Reflex - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    #62: If you are going from an optical output to a coax input, you *are* converting the signal. In a straight optical to optical link, it is being converted first inside the source device and again on the reciever. So yes you are converting the signal. Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    #56,

    While it is true that most people do not base their mobo purchase decision on APU capability, however when it comes to use the PC as HTPC or simply want to play games on your big screen HDTV, the DD real-time encoding plays a big role on chose which mobo to be in your HTPC. Instead of have to connect 3 analog sound wires and pay big $$ to have a receiver to support multi-channel analog input, you can use a SPDIF/Coax digital connection to get all your sound (desktop, game and DVDs) from PC to the HT.
    Reply
  • Foxbat121 - Friday, March 26, 2004 - link

    #58,

    SPDIF is compatible with coax and all you need is a mono mini-jack to RCA adapter so that you can connect it directly to your coax input on the receiver. There is no double conversion needed. I believe that how most people connect their PC to the receiver.
    Reply

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